The Senate continued gridlock on New Year’s Eve on whether to approve the $2,000 stimulus checks requested by President Trump — potentially causing senators to wait on Capitol Hill past midnight for an early-morning vote.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a floor speech Thursday that the checks would be “socialism for rich people” because of a tweak in how dependents are treated that allows higher-income people to be eligible.
McConnell is demanding that Democrats agree to bundle the checks with two other issues: repealing legal protections for social media companies and creating an election fraud commission.
But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he wanted to vote on the three issues separately.
Schumer argues that because the House is in recess Monday until the next session of Congress begins Jan. 3, only a five-page House-passed bill can approve the $2,000 checks.
Schumer said the lack of extra stimulus money means people will have to consider “which meal to skip on a given day.”
Many conservatives argue that increasing the just-passed $600 stimulus checks to $2,000 would add an estimated $462 billion to the national debt and potentially cause inflation.
The fight over the $2,000 checks, tech immunity and election fraud has become linked to an attempt to override Trump’s veto of a $740 billion defense bill.
Trump said he vetoed that bill because it did not repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, because it seeks to hamstring his drawdown of troops in Afghanistan from 4,500 in November to 2,500 by Jan. 15 and because it would force the renaming of 10 military bases that honor Confederates.
Because of the Senate disagreement on how to proceed, C-SPAN reports it’s possible there will be a vote around 1 am on Friday morning on cloture to proceed with the veto override.